Submit or Track your Manuscript LOG-IN

Effects of Antibiotics on Growth Performance, Immune Response, and Intestinal Microflora of Broilers

PJZ_54_6_2629-2637

Effects of Antibiotics on Growth Performance, Immune Response, and Intestinal Microflora of Broilers

Shahan Azeem1*, Muhammad Akram Muneer2, Liaquat Ahmad3, Sameera Akhtar1 and Talat Naseer Pasha4,5

1Institute of Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore 54000, Pakistan.

2Department of Microbiology, Riphah College of Veterinary Sciences, Riphah International University, Lahore, Pakistan.

3Department of Statistics and Computer Science, Faculty of Life Sciences Business Management, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore 54000, Pakistan.

4Department of Animal Nutrition, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore 54000, Pakistan

5University of Education, Lahore 54770, Pakistan

ABSTRACT

This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of flavomycin, lincomycin, and zinc bacitracin on body growth, morphometery of immune organs, Newcastle disease virus (NDV) and avian influenza virus (AIV) antibody response, intestinal microflora, and feed efficiency of broilers. Forty-five day-old broiler chickens were randomly divided into five treatments and housed under identical husbandry conditions. Antibiotic-free poultry feed was procured from a commercial feed mill. The antibiotics were mixed in the feed as per the manufacturer’s instructions and offered ad libitum to the chickens for the entire study period. The chickens were vaccinated for NDV and AIV. None of the antibiotics adversely affected the development of NDV or AIV hemagglutination inhibition geometric mean titers. Flavomycin and zinc bacitracin did not adversely affect the mean splenic (1.27+0.20 g and 1.21+0.15 g, respectively), thymic (3.42+0.26 g and 3.78+0.48 g, respectively), hepatic (21.78+0.83 g and 23.15+0.37 g, respectively), or bursal (1.55+0.79 g and 1.63+0.21 g, respectively) body weight ratios. However, lincomycin did adversely affect bursal (0.91+0.12 g), but not splenic (1.21+0.23 g), thymic (3.52+0.36 g), or hepatic (23.72+1.78 g) body weight ratios. The total viable bacterial counts per gram of feces before and 120 h after medication were significantly different (p<0.05). Interestingly, the feed efficiency of non-medicated, non-vaccinated chickens was equal to the flavomycin-medicated chickens but better than zinc bacitracin and lincomycin-medicated chickens. Additionally, the non-medicated, non-vaccinated chickens were the most economical to raise. Overall growth-promoting antibiotics did not interfere with the broiler’s immunity, altered total intestinal microflora counts, or improved feed efficiency.


Article Information

Received 16 September 2021

Revised 06 October 2021

Accepted 27 October 2021

Available online 19 January 2022

(early access)

Published 16 August 2022

Authors’ Contribution

SA and SA conducted the experiments, analyzed data, and wrote the manuscript. MAM planned the study, as well as contributed to the write up. LA ran the statistical analyses. TNP planned the study and provided research supplies and reagents.

Key words

Flavomycin, Immunity, Lincomycin, viable counts, Zinc bacitracin

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/20210916080919

* Corresponding author: sazeem@uvas.edu.pk

0030-9923/2022/0006-2629 $ 9.00/0

Copyright 2022 by the authors. Licensee Zoological Society of Pakistan.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).



INTRODUCTION

Global consumption of animal proteins is expected to rise by 100% in the next 4 decades (Lillehoj and Lee, 2012). During the last 5 decades, a four-fold surge in poultry production has been recorded worldwide (Godfray et al., 2010). In Pakistan, since the early 1960s, the poultry production is increasing around 10% per year despite infectious disease challenges. Infectious diseases greatly hinder production performances of chickens depending on morbidity and mortality (Akhtar, 1998), besides inflicting heavy economic losses to poultry producers (Mustafa and Ali, 2005). Therefore, poultry producers in some developed and many developing countries including Pakistan routinely use various antibiotics to stimulate the growth performance of broilers, hereafter referred to as growth-promoting antibiotics (GPAs). The possible mechanism of action of GPAs is through modulation of the immune system and intestinal microflora of broilers leading to improved feed efficiency (Srivastava, 2010; Lillehoj and Lee, 2012). However, many reports suggest that antibiotic treatment may adversely affect the immune system’s functions (Al-Ankari and Homeida, 1996). In contrast, some workers reported that feeding antibiotics to poultry could lead to faster maturation of some immune cells (Takahashi et al., 2011). These conflicting reports on the effect of GPAs on chicken’s immune organs (Al-Ankari and Homeida, 1996; Dafwang et al., 1996), do not provide definitive guidance to the poultry producers.

Vaccination in broilers can cause stress (Hentges et al., 1984) that ultimately negatively affects their growth performance (Landman, 2012). Stress also impairs the body’s metabolism, which results in decreased body growth and skeletal muscle development in broilers (Klasing et al., 1990; Klasing and Johnstone, 1991). The antibiotics such as Zinc bacitracin (ZB) are reported to reduce feed efficiency (Abdulkarim and Liebert, 1999). However, if GPAs are augented with the treatment of probiotic preparations, feed conversion may improve (Abdulrahim et al., 1999). Little or no changes in the composition of gut micro-flora (Corpet, 1999) or their number (Lattemann et al., 1999; Kim et al., 2000) with the use growth promoter antibiotics are reported. ZB treatment has not been reported to affect weight gain, feed consumption, or feed efficiency (Erdogan, 1999). Some antibiotics have been reported to increase antibody response of broilers (Brisin et al., 2008), yet others are not (Zulkifli et al., 2000). Conflicting findings have been reported on the effect of GPAs on feed intake, feed conversion ratio (FCR), or final body weight (Haque et al., 2010). Flavomycin (FN) has been reported to improve the overall performance of chickens facing bacterial infections (Torok et al., 2011). The effect of some antibiotics on growth may be masked under poor hygienic conditions (Srivastava, 2010). Because of the above controversial scientific knowledge, an evaluation of antibiotic’s effect on broiler’s growth and immune organs was undertaken. The effects of FN, Lincomycin (LN), and ZB on the performance, immune response, and intestinal microflora of broiler chickens were evaluated under experimental conditions.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Forty-five day-old broiler chickens were randomly divided into five treatment groups, each having 9 birds. These groups were named as T1 (Non-medicated, non-vaccinated), T2 (Non-medicated, vaccinated), T3 (Flavomycin-medicated, vaccinated), T4 Lincomycin medicated, vaccinated), and T5 (Zinc Bacitracin-medicated, vaccinated). Each group was reared on a littered floor, separately, under identical, standard husbandry conditions in an experimental room located at the Institute of Microbiology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore (Pakistan). All experiments were conducted using standard ethical procedures in line with the institutional policies to minimize unnecessary pain and discomfort to birds. Feed and water were made available to the experimental chickens, ad libitum. At the end of the trial, the birds were humanely slaughtered using the halal method (Guerrero-Legarreta, 2010). The GPAs were added in the feed as per the manufacturer’s instructions: Flavomycin® 112.5 g/ton (Flavophospholipol 9 ppm) (Flavomycin® 80, Huvepharma); Licomix® 100 g /ton (Lincomycin 4.4 ppm) (Lincomix®, Pharmacia and Upjohn Company LLC–a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc.); Albac® 500 g /ton (Zinc Bacitacin 50 ppm) (Albac®, Alpharma, Inc.).

Vaccination and weight gain study

To determine the effect of various treatments on body weight gains all experimental chickens were weighed at the beginning and end of study. The mean weights of the bursa of Fabricius, thymus, spleen, and liver of all chickens in various treatment groups were also recorded at the end of the experiment.

The chickens in different treatment groups except those in the T1 were primed and boosted with NDV, LaSota strain (Merial) on day 5 and Muktaswar virus strain (Veterinary Research Institute, Lahore) on day 21 of their age, respectively. On day 9 of age, chickens in different groups, except those in T1, were inoculated with an inactivated AIV (H9) vaccine (M/S Avicenna Laboratory). All AIV vaccinated chickens were boosted with an oil-based AIV (H9) vaccine (M/S Avicenna Laboratory) on day 24 day of age. Routine vaccination against infectious bursal disease and hydropericardium syndrome was also administered to chickens except in T1.

Collection, processing, and analysis of serum samples

Blood samples from each group were collected on days 1, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, and 42. The sera were separated and used to determine hemagglutination inhibition (HI) titers. Before HI testing, the sera were heat-inactivated in a water bath at 56°C for 30 minutes. Phosphate buffered saline (PBS), pH of 7.2, was used as a diluent in hemagglutination (HA) and HI tests. The chicken red blood cells (RBCs) were washed with PBS and 1% RBCs suspension was used in HA and HI tests. According to the procedure described earlier, the HI test was conducted with already standardized NDV and AIV antigens using 96-well, U-bottom microtiter plates (Alexander and Chettle, 1977). The microtiter plates were agitated gently and incubated at ambient temperature (22-25 °C) for 20-30 minutes after which the results were recorded as previously described. The HA and HI titers were expressed as log2 of the reciprocal of the highest dilution exhibiting HA or HI activity, respectively.

Intestinal microflora

Fresh fecal samples from each treatment group were used to study intestinal microflora. The fecal samples from each treatment group were collected, before medication and at 4, 8, 12, 24, 48, 72 and 120 h post-medication. One gram of the pooled fecal material was used for viable bacterial count using the pour plate method (Collins et al., 2004). The bacterial colonies were counted using a colony counter. Colony-forming unit per gram (cfu/g) of feces was calculated by multiplying the average number of colonies per countable plate by the reciprocal of the dilution.

Feed conversion ratio

The FCR of chickens in each group was estimated at the end of the experiment. FCR was calculated as per the formula of Morgan and Lewis (1962).

Impact of antibiotic treatment on the economics of flock production

The economics of flock production for each treatment group was determined as per Oyekole (1984).

Statistical analysis

The data obtained was statistically analyzed using ANOVA and differences among the treatments were determined by Fisher’s least significant difference (LSD) test using SPSS version 20 (IBM, Armonk, NY, USA).

RESULTS

Body weight gain

This study indicated that the non-medicated, non-vaccinated chickens gained higher mean body weight (MBW) than the non-medicated, vaccinated or GPA-medicated, vaccinated chickens. On day 42 of their age, the highest MBW (1604.62+85.20 g) was recorded in chickens from group T1 (non-medicated, non-vaccinated), and the lowest MBW (1375.75+44.58 g) was recorded in chickens of group T2 (non-medicated, vaccinated). The MBW of chickens in group T1 was significantly higher (P<0.05) than the MBW of chickens in group T2 and T4 (Table I).

Morphometric analysis of lymphoid organs

Dohms and Saif (1984) parameters were followed to study the effect of FN, LN, and ZB on the immune system of broiler chickens. Table I shows comparison of mean bursal, splenic, thymic, and liver weights of the chickens in various treatment groups.

Bursal body weight ratio (BBR)

The chickens from group T5 (ZB-medicated, vaccinated) had the highest BBR (Mean BBR: 1.63+0.21 g), and those from group T2 (non-medicated, vaccinated) had the lowest BBR (mean BBR 0.89+0.11 g). The mean BBR of chickens from group T5 was significantly higher (P<0.05) than the mean BBR of chickens in T2 and T4.

Thymus body weight ratio (TBR)

The chickens from group T1 (non-medicated, non-vaccinated) had the highest mean TBR (mean TBR 4.00+0.50 g), and those from group T2 (non-medicated, vaccinated) had the lowest mean TBR (mean TBR 2.83+0.38 g).

Spleen body weight ratio (SBR)

The chickens from T1 (non-medicated, non-vaccinated group) had the highest mean SBR (mean SBR 1.57+0.15 g), and chickens from group T4 (lincomycin-medicated, vaccinated) had the lowest mean SBR (mean SBR 1.21+0.23 g). However, there were no significant differences between the mean SBR of different treatment groups (P>0.05).

Liver body weight ratio (LBR)

The chickens from group T1 (Non-medicated, non-vaccinated) had the highest mean LBR (mean LBR 24.54+1.03 g), and those from group T3 (flavomycin-medicated, vaccinated) had the lowest mean LBR (mean LBR 21.78+0.83 g).

 

Table I. Effect of antibiotics on the mean (Mean±SEM) body, bursa, thymus, spleen, and liver weights of chickens.

Group

Body weight (g)

Bursal body weight ratio (g)

Thymic body weight ratio (g)

Splenic body weight ratio (g)

Liver body weight ratio (g)

1st Day

42nd Day

T1

39.50± 0.94AB

1604.62± 85.20AB

1.61 ± 0.08B

4.00 ± 0.50AB

1.57 ± 0.15AB

24.54 ± 1.03AB

T2

39.00 ±0.70B

1375.75 ± 44.58C

0.89 ± 0.11C

2.83 ± 0.38C

1.26 ± 0.07B

24.00 ± 1.71B

T3

39.62 ± 0.77B

1448.00 ± 54.07BC

1.55 ± 0.79B

3.42 ± 0.26BC

1.27 ± 0.20B

21.78 ± 0.83B

T4

39.12 ± 0.66B

1376.12 ± 33.26C

0.91 ± 0.12C

3.52 ± 0.36BC

1.21 ± 0.23B

23.72 ± 1.78B

T5

39.25 ± 0.72B

1460.62 ± 67.57BC

1.63± 0.21AB

3.78 ± 0.48BC

1.21 + 0.15B

23.15 ± 0.37B

 

*NDV and AIV vaccines, †: Mean + standard error, A,B,C: Any two means carrying the same superscript are not significantly different from each other (P>0.05).

 

HI antibody analyses

Newcastle disease virus

The geometric mean (G) HI titers of chickens from Day 1 through Day 42 are depicted in Figure 1A. On Day 1, chicks in each treatment group had a G HI titer of 6.5 against NDV. On day 7, the G HI titers of chickens in treatment groups T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5 were 50.63, 45.01, 63.97, 58.68, and 72.77, respectively. On day 14, the highest G HI titers were observed in chickens from group T5 and the lowest in chickens from group T1. On day 21, the highest G HI titer (24.67) was observed in group T4, and the lowest titer was observed in chickens from group T1. On day 28, the highest G HI titer (39.00) was noted in group T5, and the lowest titer was observed in chickens from group T1. On day 35, the highest G HI titer (42.65) was observed in group T5, and the lowest titer was observed in chickens from group T1. On day 42, the highest G HI titer (11.25) was observed in group T2 while the lowest titer (1.41) was observed in chickens from T1.

 

Avian influenza virus

The G HI titers for AIV are depicted in Figure 1B. The G HI AIV titers in one day old chickens in all treatment groups were zero. On day 7, the highest G HI titer (99.00) was observed in the chickens from group T3 (FN-medicated, vaccinated), while the lowest (38.00) in chickens from treatment group T5. On day 14, the highest G HI titer (35.00) was observed in the chickens from group T2 (non-medicated, vaccinated), while the lowest (2.00) titers were observed in chickens from treatment group T1. On day 21, the highest G HI titer (7.00) was observed in the chickens from T3 and lowest in the chickens from T1 and T4 groups. On day 28, the highest G HI titers (12.00) were observed in group T2 while lowest in group T1 and T5. On day 35, the highest G HI titer (90.00) was observed in group T2 (non-medicated, vaccinated) and T3 (FN-medicated, vaccinated) and the lowest (1.00) in group T1 (non-medicated, non-vaccinated). On day 42, while the highest G HI titer (59.00) was observed in T2, and T5, the lowest titer was noted in T1 and T4.

Total viable counts of intestinal microflora

Total viable counts (TVC) per gram of feces before and 4, 8, 12, 24, 48, 72, and 120 h after medication in various treatment groups are described in Table II. TVC per gram of feces in groups T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5 before medication were 14.88, 16.53, 15.32, 15.62, and 16.09 log10. The TVC 120 h after medication were 12.32, 6.69, 6.47, 6.47, and 6.73 log10, respectively. The statistical analysis revealed that overall effect of treatments is significant and the effect of time is highly significant (p<0.05). Pair-wise comparison of means of each treatment indicated the means of T1 and T4, T2 and T5, and T4 and T5 were significantly different (p<0.05). The effect of antibiotics on intestinal microflora was time-dependent. For example, the total microflora started to reduce 24 h after medication and this reduction was noted till the end of the experiment (p<0.05).

 

Table II. Bacteria (cfu Log10) in the fecal samples of broiler chickens before and after medication.

Group

Before medication

After commencing medication

4 h

8 h

12 h

24 h

48 h

72 h

120 h

T1

14.88

15.49

13.73

13.82

14.33

12.84

10.47

12.32

T2

16.53

12.29

13.73

11.36

13.74

13.68

9.30

6.69

T3

15.32

12.94

14.19

14.86

12.06

13.13

12.50

6.47

T4

15.62

12.43

12.93

13.23

12.71

10.48

10.74

6.47

T5

16.09

12.33

16.65

16.31

15.30

15.90

12.22

6.73

 

For details of treatment groups, see Figure 1.

 

Feed conversion ratio

The mean FCR for groups T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5 were as 2.25, 2.35, 2.24, 2.35, and 2.47, respectively (Table III). The FCR study indicated that Flavomycin-medicated, vaccinated chickens had the best FCR (2.24). In contrast, ZB-medicated group had the poorest FCR (2.47) value.

 

Table III. Feed Conversion ratio of chickens in various treatment groups.

Group

Feed consumed (g)

Mean body weight (g)

Feed conversion ratio

T1

28248.30

12521.00

2.25

T2

25226.67

10694.00

2.35

T3

25283.92

11247.00

2.24

T4

25166.90

10696.00

2.35

T5

28100.00

11371.00

2.47

 

For details of treatment groups, see Figure 1.

 

Economics of flock

Total profit and profit per bird in groups T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5 are shown in Table IV. The highest profit Rs.132.85, was recorded in group T1 (non-medicated and non-vaccinated). GPA-medicated, vaccinated groups demonstrated lower profit, with LN-medicated group at the lowest profit level.

DISCUSSION

Antibiotics use for growth performance in animals has come under greater scrutiny in the recent years. Therefore, the present study was designed to evaluate the effect of antibiotics on the growth performance, immune response, and intestinal microflora of broilers. The study results revealed that none of the antibiotics adversely affected the development of antibodies to NDV or AIV. The total viable bacterial counts per gram of feces before and after medication were meaningfully different. Interestingly, the feed efficiency of non-medicated, non-vaccinated chickens was equal to the Flavomycin-medicated chickens but better than zinc bacitracin and lincomycin-medicated chickens. The economic analysis indicated that the non-medicated, non-vaccinated group was the most cost-effective.

On day 42, the body weights analysis revealed that chickens fed on a non-medicated diet and without vaccination against NDV and AIV had significantly higher (P<0.05) body weights compared to vaccinated chickens with or without medication, suggestive of vaccination-related stress. Vaccination stress has already been well documented (Samanta, 1992). Hentges et al. (1984) have reported similar vaccination-related reactions in broilers: decreased protein synthesis rate, decreased final body weights, poor feed conversion ratios, and increased mortality rates. Hentges et al. (1984) has also reported maximum live weight gain by non-vaccinated chickens compared to vaccinated ones, consistent with our findings. One explanation for vaccination-related stress could be stimulation of the immune system in response to vaccination resulting in considerable metabolic changes that are antagonistic toward growth. For example, monokines released due to immune stimulation promote the utilization of dietary nutrients to support the immune response and disease resistance instead of skeletal muscle growth (Klasing and Johnstone, 1991). Characteristic metabolic alterations induced by monokines include decreased growth, impaired lipid utilization, decreased skeletal muscle protein synthesis, hepatic acute-phase protein synthesis, increased metabolic rate, and decreased feed intake (Klasing et al., 1990).

On day 42, bursal body weight ratio (BBR) of non-medicated, vaccinated and LN-medicated, vaccinated chickens were significantly lower than BBR of the chickens from non-medicated, non-vaccinated, FN-medicated, vaccinated and ZB-medicated, vaccinated groups. These data suggest LN-related decrease in BBR, consistent with Al-Ankari and Homeida (1996), who have reported a decrease in bursal weight due to antibiotic feeding. FN and ZB, however, did not adversely affect the morphometry of the chicken bursae, consistent with Dafwang et al. (1996), who reported that the bursal weights increased in GPA-fed chickens.

 

Table IV. Economics of the medication studies.

Group

No. of birds in the experiment

Total cost*

(Pak. Rupees)

Total income (Pak. Rupees)

Total profit

(Pak. Rupees)

Profit per bird (Pak. Rupees)

Beginning

End

T1

9

8

443.15

576.00

132.85

16.60

T2

9

9

470.96

554.85

83.89

9.32

T3

9

9

471.86

583.20

111.34

12.37

T4

9

8

475.73

493.20

17.47

2.18

T5

9

8

474.24

525.60

51.36

6.42

 

*, Total cost included cost of chicks, feed, vaccination, antibiotics etc. , Total profit was calculated by multiplying the per kilogram rate of broiler meat on the day of sale. For details of treatment groups, see Figure 1.

 

The mean thymus body weight ratio (TBR) of chickens from group T1 was significantly higher (P<0.05) than the mean TBR of chickens in group T2. However, the differences in the mean TBR of chickens from T1, T3, T4 and T5 were not significant (P>0.05), suggesting that FN, LN, and ZB did not adversely affect the weight of the thymus. Our findings differ from those reported by Al-Ankari and Homeida (1996), who reported an antibiotic-related decrease in thymus size. This difference may be due to selective depression of thymus due to Oxytetracyclines used by these researchers.

This study indicated that FN, LN, and ZB did not have any adverse effects on the spleen body weight ratio (SBR) of chickens at 42 of their age, consistent with findings of Al-Ankari and Homeida (1996), who have reported that antibiotic-medication did not adversely affect spleen weight.

The differences amongst mean liver body weight ratio (LBR) of different treatment groups were non-significant (P>0.05), suggesting FN, LN or ZB did not interfere with the development of liver consistent with Sarica et al. (2005).

The mean HI titers of chickens for Newcastle disease virus from groups T3, T4, and T5 were higher or comparable to the chickens in group T2 throughout the experiment except for T4 titers, which were lower than T2 on day 28. Overall, these data indicate that the use of FN, LN, and ZB did not adversely affect the development of antibodies against NDV, consistent with Landy et al. (2011).

The mean HI titer of chickens for avian influenza virus from groups T3, T4, and T5 were higher than or comparable to T2 except on day 28 of their age when T2 titer was higher. These data suggest that the use of FN, LN, and ZB did not adversely affect the development of antibodies against AIV, consistent with Landy et al. (2011).

The total viable counts per gram of feces before and after medication in treatment groups were different consistent with Gunal et al. (2006), who have reported a reduction in total bacterial counts due to antibiotic feeding. However, our findings differ with Lattemann et al. (1999), Rakowska et al. (1993), Corpet (1999), and Kim et al. (2000). These workers have observed little or no influence of feeding GPAs on the intestinal microflora of chickens. The decrease in TVC in the non-medicated, vaccinated group may be attributed to the stimulation of the innate immune system due to vaccination.

The present study’s results indicating poorest feed efficiency by ZB-medicated chickens, differ from Abdulrahim et al. (1999), who have reported a drop in FCR or better feed efficiency of broilers with ZB compared to controls. On the other hand, Erdogan (1999) found no significant effect of ZB on feed efficiency. Interestingly in our study, the FCR of non-medicated, non-vaccinated chickens was comparable to FN-medicated chickens, yet better than ZB and LN -medicated or non-medicated, vaccinated chickens. These findings are consistent with Lin et al. (1991), who reported that there was no significant difference in the feed conversion rates of groups fed on two different GPA (a mixture of LN and Spectinomycin) to that of the control group. However, our findings differ from those of Rakowska et al. (1993), who reported that the antibiotic treatment increased feed intake and body weight gain with improvements in feed utilization. This difference may be attributed to the use of a different antibiotic (Nisin) or rye-based diet by Rakowska et al. (1993).

The economic analysis indicated that GPAs could cause economic losses to poultry producers, consistent with Graham et al. (2007). The highest profit observed in non-medicated, non-vaccinated group can be attributed low cost of production: no costs inured on medication and vaccination. Furthermore, this group had the highest mean live weight recorded on day 42, which added to this group’s net profit. The profit per bird was also highest in this group. The lowest profit observed in the LN-medicated and vaccinated group was because of the higher cost of Lincomix® than other GPAs. The profit per bird in this group was the lowest.

Overall, this small-scale study has generated some interesting data on antibiotic use for broiler growth performance.

Ban on the use of GPAs in the European Union and growing consumer concern in North America on the use of GPAs in animal production warrants further investigation in search for and the use of alternatives to GPAs (Selaledi et al., 2020). These alternatives include but are not limited to exogenous enzymes, organic acids, herbs, and essential oils. Recent workers have claimed to obtain broiler performance similar to antibiotics from herbal extracts (Petrolli et al., 2012). Further probiotics, prebiotics, and innate immune system stimulants aim at decreasing pathogen load in chickens (Huyghebaert, et al., 2011; Nawab et al., 2018). A thorough understanding of the mode of action of GPA-alternatives capable of regulating chicken’s immune system and intestinal microflora is likely to expedite their replacement for GPAs.

CONCLUSIONS

In conclusion, this study suggested that dietary supplementation of FN, LN, and ZB at recommended dosage did not interfere with the development of the broiler’s immune system and their effect on total intestinal microflora was time-dependent. Additionally, FN, LN, and ZB effect in improving feed efficiency was negligible, suggesting GPAs contribute to poultry production’s economic burden.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors thank the laboratory and support staff at the Institute of Microbiology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore (Pakistan) for their help.

Statement of conflict of interest

The authors have declared no conflict of interest.

Data availability

Data presented in this study will be available on a fair request to the corresponding author.

Ethical approval

All experiments were conducted using standard ethical procedures in line with the institutional policies to minimize unnecessary pain and discomfort to birds.

REFERENCES

Abdulkarim, A.A., and Liebert, F., 1999. Results of combine use of feed treatment, use of growth promoters and enzymes in broiler feed with high wheat ration. In: Vitamine and Zusatzstoffe in der Ernahrug von Mensch und Tier: 7. Symposium Jena Thuringen, Germany. Friedrick-Schiller-Universitat. pp. 286-291.

Abdulrahim, A.S.M., Haddadin, M.S.Y., Odetallah, N.H.M., and Robinson, R.K., 1999. Effect of Lactobacillus acidophilus and zinc bacitracin as dietary additives for broiler chickens. Br. Poult. Sci., 40: 91-94. https://doi.org/10.1080/00071669987890

Akhtar, S., 1998. Assessment of microbicidal activity of Finvirus Uriach. M.Sc. thesis. University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. Pakistan.

Al-Ankari, A.S., and Homeida, A.M., 1996. Effect of antibiotic growth promoters on the immune system of broiler chicks. Vet. Immun. Immunopath., 53: 277-283. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0165-2427(96)05609-7

Alexander, D.J., and Chettle, N.J., 1977. Procedures for the hemagglutination and the hemagglutination- inhibition tests for avian infectious bronchitis virus. Avian Pathol., 6: 9-17. https://doi.org/10.1080/03079457708418208

Brisbin, J.T., Gong, J., Lusty, C.A., Sabour, P., Sanei, B., Han, Y., Shewen, P.E., and Sharif, S., 2008. Influence of in-feed virginiamycin on the systemic and mucosal antibody response of chickens. Poult. Sci., 87: 1995-1999. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2008-00159

Collins, C.H., Patricia, M.L., Grange, J.M., and Falkinham III, J.O., 2004. Collins and Lyne’s microbiological methods: 8th edn. Arnold, a member of the Hodder Headline Group, UK.

Corpet, D.E., 1999. Mechanism of antimicrobial growth promoters used in animal feed. C. R. Acad. Agric. France, 85: 197-205.

Dafwang, I.I., Sunde, M.L., Cook, M.E., Schaefer, D.M., Ricke, S.C., and Pringle, D.J., 1996. Effect of antibiotics and water quality on the growth, intestinal characteristics and bacterial populations of broiler chicks. Nig. J. Anim. Prod., 23: 116-123. https://doi.org/10.51791/njap.v23i2.2244

Dohms, J.E., and Saif, Y.M., 1984. Criteria for evaluating immunosuppression. Avian Dis., 28: 305-310. https://doi.org/10.2307/1590336

Erdogan, Z., 1999. The use of antibiotics and probiotics in broiler diets. Lalahan Hayvancilik Arastirma Enstitusii Dergisi, 39: 57-69.

Godfray, H.C., Beddington, J.R., Crute, I.R., Haddad, L., Lawrence, D., Muir, J.F., Pretty, I., Robinson, S., Thomas, S.M., and Toulmin, C., 2010. Food security: The challenge of feeding 9 billion people. Science, 327: 812–818. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1185383

Graham, J.P., Boland, J.J., and Silbergeld, E., 2007. Growth promoting antibiotics in food animal production: An economic analysis. Publ. Hlth. Rep., 122: 79-87. https://doi.org/10.1177/003335490712200111

Guerrero-Legarreta, I., 2010. Handbook of poultry science and technology, primary processing. John Wiley and Sons, NJ, USA. https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470504451

Gunal, M., Yayli, G., Kaya, O., Karahan, N., and Sulak, O., 2006. Effects of antibiotic growth promoter, probiotic or organic acid supplementation on performance, intestinal microflora and tissue of broilers. Int. J. Poult. Sci., 5: 149-155. https://doi.org/10.3923/ijps.2006.149.155

Haque, M.N.K., Islam, M.S., Akbar, M.A., Chowdhury, R., Khatun, M., Karim, M.R., and Kemppainen, B.W., 2010. Effect of dietary citric acid, flavomycin and their combination on the performance, tibia ash and immune status of broiler. Can. J. Anim. Sci., 90: 57-63. https://doi.org/10.4141/CJAS09048

Hentges, E.J., Marple, D.N., Roland, D.A., and Pritchett, J.F., 1984. Muscle protein synthesis and growth of two strains of chicks vaccinated for ND and IB. Poult. Sci., 63: 1738-1741. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.0631738

Huyghebaert, G., Ducatelle, R., and Immerseel, F.V., 2011. An update on alternatives to antimicrobial growth promoters for broilers. Vet. J., 187: 182–188. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2010.03.003

Kim, Y.R., Ahn, B.K., Kim, M.S., and Kang, CW., 2000. Effects of dietary supplementation of probiotics (MS102) on performance, blood cholesterol level, size of small intestine and intestinal microflora in broiler chicks. Korean J. Anim. Sci., 42: 849-858.

Klasing, K.C., and Johnstone, B.J., 1991. Monokines in growth and development. Poult. Sci., 70: 1781-1789. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.0701781

Klasing, K.C., Benson, B.N., and Barnes, D.M., 1990. Nutritional implications of an immune response in chicks. In: Biotechnology in the feed industry (Proceeding of Alltech’s Sixth Annual Symposium), Nicholasville, KY, USA. pp. 263-276.

Landman, W.J.M., 2012. Editorial: The downside of broiler vaccination. Vet. Quart., 32: 121-122. https://doi.org/10.1080/01652176.2012.729657

Landy, N., Ghalamkari, G., Toghiani, M., and Yazdi, F.F., 2011. Humoral immune responses of broiler chickens fed with antibiotic and neem fruit powder (Azadirachta Indica) as feed additive supplemented diet. International Conference on Life Science and Technology. IPCBEE vol.3, IACSIT Press, Singapore.

Lattemann, D., Matthes, S., Vahjen, W., Halle, I., and Flachowsky, G., 1999. Influence of a xylanase, flavophospholipol as well as their combination on performance, egg quality parameters, nutrient digestibility and the intestinal microflora of laying hens. In: Vitamine and Zusatzstoffe in der Ernahrung von Mensch und Tier: 7. Symposium Jena/Thuringen, Germany, 22-23. September 1999. Jena, Germany; Friedrich-Schiller Universitat. pp. 268-273.

Lillehoj, H.S., and Lee, K.W., 2012. Immune modulation of innate immunity as alternatives-to-antibiotics strategies to mitigate the use of drugs in poultry production. Poult. Sci., 91: 1286–1291. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2012-02374

Lin, M.Y., Cheng, M.C., Lin, P.S., and Fang, W.S., 1991. Effect of lincomycin and spectinomycin medication of hybrid broiler chicks experimentally infected with a Taiwan Mycoplasma gallisepticum isolate. Taiwan J. Vet. Med. Anim. Husb., 57: 29-35.

Morgan, J.T., and Lewis, D., 1962. Nutrition of pigs and poultry. In: Proceedings of the University of Nottingham Eighth Easter School in Agricultural Science. Butterworths, London, UK. pp. 366.

Mustafa, M.Y., and Ali, S.S., 2005. Prevalence of infectious diseases in local and Fayoumi breeds of rural poultry (Gallus Domesticus). Punjab Univ. J. Zool., 20: 177-180.

Nawab, A., Liu, W., Li, G., Ibtisham, F., Fox, D.P., Zhao, Y., Wu, J., Xiao, M., Nawab, Y., and An, L., 2018. The potential role of probiotics (nutraceuticals) in gut health of domestic animals; an alternative to antibiotic growth promoters. J. Hellenic Vet. Med. Soc., 69: 1169-1188. https://doi.org/10.12681/jhvms.19600

Oyekole, D.D., 1984. A mathematical model for assessing the economic effect of disease in broiler chicken flocks. Prev. Vet. Med., 3: 151-158. https://doi.org/10.1016/0167-5877(84)90005-9

Petrolli, T.G., Albino, L.F.T., Rostagno, H.S., Gomes, P.C., Tavernari, F.C., and Balbino, E.M., 2012. Herbal extracts in diets for broilers. Rev. Bras. Zootec., 41: 1683-1690. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982012000700018

Rakowska, M., Rek-Cieply, B., Sot, A., Lipinska, E., Kubinski, T., Barcz, I., and Afanasjew, B., 1993. The effect of rye, probiotics and nisin on faecal flora and histology of small intestine of chicks. J. Anim. Feed Sci., 12: 73-81. https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/69868/1993

Samanta, A.R., 1992. Stress-a grave threat to poultry industry, its nutritional stand point. Poult. Adv., 25: 21-27.

Sarica, S., Ciftci, A., Demir, E., Kilinc, K., and Yildirim, Y., 2005. Use of an antibiotic growth promoter and two herbal natural feed additives with and without exogenous enzymes in wheat based broiler diets. South Afr. J. Anim. Sci., 35: 61-72. https://doi.org/10.4314/sajas.v35i1.4050

Selaledi, A.S., Hassan, Z.M., Manyelo, T.G., and Mabelebele, M., 2020. The current status of the alternative use to antibiotics in poultry production: An African perspective. Antibiotics, 9: 594. https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090594

Srivastava, M.K., 2010. Antibiotic growth-promoters in food animals. Pharm. Times, 42: 17-21.

Takahashi, K., Miura, Y., and Mizuno, T., 2011. Antibiotics feeding accelerate functional maturation of intestinal immune-related cells of male broiler chicks after hatch. J. Poult. Sci., 48: 187-193. https://doi.org/10.2141/jpsa.010134

Torok, V.A., Allison, G.E., Percy, N.J., Ophel-Keller, K., and Hughes, R.J., 2011. Influence of antimicrobial feed additives on broiler commensal posthatch gut microbiota development and performance. Appl. environ. Microbiol., 77: 3380-3390. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.02300-10

Zulkifli, I., Abdullah, N., Azrinb, N.M., and Ho, Y.W., 2000. Growth performance and immune response of two commercial broiler strains fed diets containing Lactobacillus cultures and oxytetracycline under heat stress conditions. Br. Poult. Sci., 41: 593-597. https://doi.org/10.1080/713654979

To share on other social networks, click on any share button. What are these?

Pakistan Journal of Zoology

October

Vol. 54, Iss. 5, Pages 2003-2500

Featuring

Click here for more

Subscribe Today

Receive free updates on new articles, opportunities and benefits


Subscribe Unsubscribe